An analysis of novice programmer doodles and student achievement in an introductory programming class

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This study examines whether students’ choice to annotate laboratory exercise sheets has any relationship with their academic achievement. Over the course of nine weeks, instructors of an introductory programming course gave students five programming exercises and allowed students to use the hard copies of the specifications as scratch paper. These papers were then collected. The authors of this paper classified the marks made by the students. They found that the majority of students, 62%, tended not to annotate their lab exercise sheets. However, those who opt to do so tend to be among the highest achievers of their class. The results support earlier studies that found that expert programmers find external memory aids helpful in managing information load.